A port crane loading choline containers onto a ship at Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba dropped one of them onto the quay on Monday (25th June), causing it to rupture and explode, with the escaping gas killing 13 people and injuring more than 260 others.
The local authorities blamed the tragic incident on the crane – a Gottwald mobile harbour crane – malfunctioning, although the cause is more likely to be related to the sling or hoist cable failure, or even a lifting lug on the chlorine tank container frame.
Residents of Aqaba city, which is 10 miles/16km north of the port, were advised to stay inside and close their windows. At the same time Aqaba’s southern beach, which is around 4.5 miles/7.2km away was also evacuated as a precaution.
There were updates that the incident was caused by the failure of two wire rope slings which simply parted around 500mm below the loops for the hook, but have not totally corroborated that this was in fact the cause, but it certainly looks to be the case.